Fine and Mellow

Fine and Mellow

by Gene Ammons
     
 
During his late period -- after his release from prison in 1969 up until the time of his death from cancer in 1974 -- Gene "Jug" Ammons did the sort of things that one associates with Grover Washington, Jr. He used electric bass and electric keyboards, he incorporated funk rhythms, and he put an instrumental spin on the soul and pop hits of the day. This 2003 release

Overview

During his late period -- after his release from prison in 1969 up until the time of his death from cancer in 1974 -- Gene "Jug" Ammons did the sort of things that one associates with Grover Washington, Jr. He used electric bass and electric keyboards, he incorporated funk rhythms, and he put an instrumental spin on the soul and pop hits of the day. This 2003 release focuses on two of the post-incarceration albums that Ammons recorded in 1972: Big Bad Jug and Got My Own, both of which find the tenor titan moving in a somewhat commercial direction. Like Washington, he usually did it tastefully -- and this 73-minute CD, although not perfect, is rewarding more often than not. Jug is a little too MOR on Neil Diamond's "Play Me," but he fares much better on gritty, blues-drenched, expressive performances of the Temptations' "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," the Four Tops' "I Can't Help Myself," and four classics from Billie Holiday's repertoire: "Strange Fruit," "Lady Sings the Blues," "Fine and Mellow," and "God Bless the Child." Not surprisingly, myopic jazz purists hated Got My Own and Big Bad Jug on principle -- especially Big Bad Jug -- and felt that Ammons had sold his soul to Beelzebub by embracing Motown, funk, and pop songs. But then, Ammons was always funky to begin with. Jug was never an ultra-cerebral, abstract sort of player -- he was accessible and groove-minded in the late '40s and early '50s -- and it makes sense that someone who craved Louis Jordan during the Harry Truman years would record a Temptations gem in 1972. Fine and Mellow isn't among Ammons' essential CDs, but for the most part, it paints an attractive picture of the saxophonist's post-incarceration period.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/09/2003
Label:
Prestige
UPC:
0025218528122
catalogNumber:
24281
Rank:
80586

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Gene Ammons   Primary Artist,Tenor Saxophone
Joe Beck   Guitar
Ron Carter   Electric Bass,Acoustic Bass
Hank Jones   Electric Piano
Sonny Phillips   Piano,Electric Piano
Maynard Parker   Guitar
Edward Bogas   Conductor
Billy Cobham   Drums
Ernie Hayes   Organ
Idris Muhammad   Drums
Mickey Roker   Drums

Technical Credits

Neil Diamond   Composer
Gene Ammons   Composer
Michel Legrand   Composer
Barrett Strong   Composer
Billie Holiday   Composer
Edward Bogas   String Arrangements
Ozzie Cadena   Producer
Dave Grusin   Composer
Lamont Dozier   Composer
Rudy Van Gelder   Engineer
Arthur Herzog   Composer
Eddie Holland   Composer
Brian Holland   Composer
Walter Scharf   Composer
Jim Stern   Engineer
Harold Vick   Composer
Norman Whitfield   Composer
Jamie Putnam   Art Direction
Donald Black   Composer
Ted Panken   Liner Notes
Lewis Allan   Composer

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